Thursday, 26 January 2012

San Diego Day 1 26/01/2012

I was all prepared to bear the wrath of a terrible jet-lag borne from 20 hours of traveling, but awesomely after a solid night of sleep it was gone. I was set to go at 10am today!

One night, and this is what a guy does to his room.

A view of my accommodation from the outside bathed in the light of day.

Sunny sunny San Diego, with it's cool breeze, is about a very comfortable 15 degrees Celsius in the day.

Psychic services just around the corner of my inn. Amerika!

Nothin' comes close to the Golden Coast!

I'm located right next to the inspiring waters. I need to go for a run here one of these days!

Just a submarine.

Just a ship turned into a museum.

Just some old school pirate-looking ship.

Found a place selling hotdogs. Did I mention that I love hotdogs covered with mustard and sprinkled generously with onions?!

That's just a miltary vessel with chinooks.

And just some fighter planes.

That's a giant statue replica of Alfred Eisenstaedt's famous photograph of the soldier's kiss, showing a soldier passionately kissing a girl on the street when WWII was declared over.

Just a carousel. These shots above are shops and eateries at the Seaport Village along the harbour.

Just a frickin' horse.

As I walked along the port towards the San Diego Convention Center, this tiny blue tank-top jogger kept lingering nearby. So I conveniently snapped a shot of her.

Stairs leading up to the convention center.

Another view of the convention center.

I got worried for a moment that I was at the wrong conference!

After registering, I decided to take a walk around the historic Gaslamp Quarter while waiting for the conference poster sessions to start. The name "Gaslamp Quarter" is a reference to the gas lamps that were common in San Diego in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The place features nice cafes, shops and picturesque architecture.

Found this hostel. At US$22 for a shared dorm, it beats the usually very competitive Hostelling International, which offers US$28 for its cheapest room. I'm thinking of shifting to here after the conference ends on Saturday! Or maybe I'll just trek to some other part of San Diego and see what I can get.

Jacques Lelong is having a 50% off lelong.

Another photo of the trolley tracks, transporting those mini trains through the roads of the city.

Spotted a zeppelin in the sky, which can only mean more advertising going on. Amerika!

Moving barriers and traffic lights, specially made for guiding trolley/car traffic, prevent cars from crossing the tracks while the trolleys are passing.

This was a big-ass pizza slice for US$3. Keeping my meals cheap!

The lit sign actually says Dick's Last Resort. I must check this out one of these days before I leave Little Italy.

Looking ace. Ready to take it away for the poster!

Finally, I'm at the conference proper in the evening, and I'm presenting my poster on the first night! As my Nokia phone camera is not quite the DSLR, I enlisted Jolene's help in taking a picture of me next to my poster with her iPhone, so that one will have to wait. Meanwhile, here's a picture of my poster, made up of A3 sheets of paper, an upgrade from the cut-up A4 papers when I was at APS!

Just a picture showing that the dude next to me is old school, cool and uses A4 paper too.

His poster showed that when people (both men and women) are primed with "ideal models" - i.e. very attractive same-sex persons - they were more likely to buy image-enhancing products, like clothes, make up, etc. We chatted, and mused about our lousy poster location - a secluded corner that did not have good human traffic - and our unsexy poster titles. Mine was "The Effects of Birth Order on Social Group Formation"; his was terrible, something like "Alterations in Consumer Behavior Due to Ideal Model Exposure" (that's a lousy attempt on my part to recall his title but it's something as dry and unappealing as that).

While standing there waiting for people to come by and chat about the poster, I thought of a hook. Whenever somebody walked by and looked vaguely interested in reading the text on the poster, I'd smile at them and say, "are you a first-born?" It did not matter whether they were first-borns, later-borns or only children - asking them the question and getting a reply did the trick 100% of the time, making them to stop and find out more. Just another one of those typical psychological hacks that exploit human social behaviour. One curious girl exclaimed, "No! Why would you think I'm a first-born?" And I replied, "well, there are naturally more first-borns in the world, since first-borns would have to come first before later-borns, so I was just trying my luck with a reasonable statistical chance of success." She couldn't stop laughing for a whole minute LOL. And it was indeed true; most people I threw that question to replied affirmatively that they were indeed oldest children, and my seemingly 'amazing' ability to predict their first-bornness probably made it more interesting to them. Additionally, if the research confirming birth order effects is true, there should be more first borns in academia anyway because first borns are supposedly more intelligent, conscientious, introverted and conservative - traits required for and associated with pursuing an academic career.

So, by the end of the poster session, I'd spoken to about 15 people and gotten 8 emails (poor ideal models dude had 3), pretty decent! One reason why I don't like to print handouts is because it allows people to get away without leaving a contact. By getting people to leave their emails on the pretext that I would send them more details on the study, I can establish contact for further collaboration. Interestingly, a girl from MSNBC (who wasn't a psychology student or academic) came for the conference to get ideas for her various columns and stopped by to chat, and was keen to follow up on this birth order effects research. Some potential media exposure sounds just about nice and useful to me!

After the poster session, Jolene, Sharon and I went for the SPSP social night held at Tivoli, a bar at Sixth Avenue and Island Street. Laysee just concussed, falling victim to jetlag. Compared to APS's social night place (named something-Buffalo), Tivoli was crappy because it was small and very warm. But we tried to make as much of the night as possible happen, having good laughs and trying to get happily married Sharon, who claims she's left her drinking and smoking days behind, to drink more. San Diego is apparently famous for its India Pale Ales, but IPA tastes like sour piss to me. Their brown ales are really good though! We ended the night at an early 11.30pm, as jetlag started getting the better of Jolene and Sharon, and Sharon has a poster to present at 8.15am tomorrow anyway. As bad as I might feel about it, I'm sure I won't be up to support her haha.

Snapped this on the way home. This 7-11 looks like a resort. Bought myself some burritos to microwave. Yums!


Richard said...

Alfred Eisenstaedt's famous photograph - that wasn't his girlfriend. Just some random girl he saw on the street at the time they declared the war was over.

Jose said...

Wow that makes it all the more passionate. Thanks for the tip!